Monday, May 6, 2013

heads up high and overcome

Head up high and Overcome - "...The inspirational tune finds her paired with Cobra Starship lead singer Gabe Saporta, who handles the song's chorus duties. The song is presumably aimed at Top 40 radio, not your favorite rap blog, but that's cool, because it's actually an okay tune. The video traffics in themes that pertain to school bullying, the idea being -- kids, keep your head up high and you can overcome that crap. Ah, if only it was as easy as a rap video. But anyway that's a cool message that we support and you should too. Unless you're a bully..." - Paul Cantor, The Boom Box (READ MORE)

Own Terms - "...In the end, Eve came off as her own person; a strong, no-nonsense street MC who could hold her own with most anyone on the mic; and was finding success on her own terms. She was born Eve Jihan Jeffers in Philadelphia on November 10, 1978, and started out as a singer in her early teens, performing with an all-female vocal quintet. She was also honing her skills as a rapper in impromptu battles with friends, and before she left high school, she formed a female rap duo called EDGP (pronounced "Egypt"), adopting the name Gangsta. EDGP performed at local talent shows and club gigs, often to the detriment of Eve's dedication to school. When the group broke up, she went solo and changed her name to Eve of Destruction; she also moved to the Bronx in the wake of her mother's remarriage, and worked for a time as a table dancer at a strip club. Unhappy with this direction, she decided to give rap another shot after being encouraged by Mase..." - Poem Hunter (READ MORE)

Positive Message - "...I don't want people to take [Lip Lock] too seriously," she says. "I'm not trying to relive any moments of my life. I'm in a new place in my life. I'm almost a new artist. It's a fun record...Make it Out This Town" was chosen as the lead single after Eve became the US female ambassador for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. Striving to deliver a single with a positive message for the airwaves, Eve says "Make it Out This Town" is an uplifting song that in turn serves as a direct representation of her personal and professional growth. "This record is so me," she says of "Make It Out This Town." "No pretending. It's exciting to let people hear where I am musically, artistically, and as a woman." Employing similar sentiments to the rest of the album, Eve says there's a meaning behind every track. "Lip Lock" sprinkles her soulful sentiments in a mixture of her urban grit, bubblegum pop vibes. The rapper hopes fans will be open to discovering "the new Eve," but promises Ruff Ryder's first lady isn't far away. "I just hope that some of my fans, especially the ones that grew up with me, will just take ['Lip Lock'] how it is and have an open mind, head and heart," she continues. "Hopefully [fans] will say, 'Let me listen to where she is now.' You will recognize me from Ruff Ryders [and] lyrically I'm still that girl..." - Famous Artist Music (READ MORE)

Eve Jihan Jeffers (born November 10, 1978), better known by her stage name, Eve, is an American Grammy Award winning rapper-songwriter, record producer and actress. Her first three albums have sold over 8 million copies worldwide. She has also achieved success in fashion with her clothing line, Fetish. She is the inaugural winner of the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002 for the song "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", with Gwen Stefani. Eve was number 48 on VH1's "50 Greatest Women Of The Video Era" list. As an actress, Eve is best known for her roles as Terri Jones in the films Barbershop and Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and as Shelley Williams on the UPN television sitcom Eve. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Monday, April 29, 2013

inspire kids and other athletes

Don't feel alone - "...I'm happy today, and I'm glad they were just ideas and I didn't act on any of them" "The cost was great in asking me to not speak candidly or be able to be open about myself in a complete manner," Harris said. "If I could have done it differently, I would have hoped I found the strength [to come out]."...Harris hopes his experience and example can support others who are struggling with their identity. "I want people, whether gay athletes, athletes still in the closet, or youths who are not sure what their sexuality is to know those are common feelings," Harris said. "Don't feel alone in having them..." - Mike Foss, USA TODAY Sports 29 March 2013 (READ MORE)

Good Enough - "...This guy played football in high school. He was among the top prep offensive lineman in the country! He played foot ball in college where he earned all-conference honors twice, and named honorable mention All-American in his last year at Stanford. Then he went on to be a first round draft pick in the 2003 draft. He's gotta be able to play a little, right? According to him, he was gay the whole time, so apparently it doesn't make a difference in his abilities. If being gay meant he wasn't any good, he wouldn't have been any good to begin with. After he's on the team, and obviously good enough to remain on the team, how does finding out he's gay, all of a sudden make him not good enough anymore? I mean, damn, you're playing a game with him, not sleeping with him. Why are sports teams so bothered by having gay teammates? Do you think they're watching you in the shower? Do you think they purposely try to get close to you when you practice? Do you think they are secretly in love with you and will try to hold your hand on the field during a game? Stop being ridiculous and get over yourself! Gay football players are there to play the game just like the heterosexual players are. Plus, you're probably not that fantastic and they wouldn't want you anyway!..." - The Working Poor, Chicago Now, 30 March 2013 (READ MORE)

Normal Guy - "...Media outlets using phrases like, “a former offensive tackle for the 49ers and the Raiders recently admitted to being gay in an interview with CNN,” and, “Suspicions of Harris’ homosexuality first spiked after he was arrested in January after a dispute with a supposed boyfriend,” just bring a negative light to the coverage, as if his being gay was something sneaky to be found out. If the rumored gay NFL player were to come out of the closet, even privately just to teammates and his organization, media reports would explode. Attention would be placed on that athlete for their entire season (and longer) which could also bring about resentment among teammates. All of that fuss for a person who is just trying to live their life as honestly and openly as they possibly can. Harris told CNN, “I’m gay and I’m a former athlete and I think I’m a pretty normal guy.” That sentiment showcases the problem with the media’s lopsided coverage of Harris’ legal issue. Harris’ story could have easily been framed around the domestic violence dispute, as it is for many other professional athletes in heterosexual relationships. Unfortunately, it does happen relatively often. Media reporting usually covers the legal process, but doesn’t follow-up confirming the athlete involved is, in fact, a heterosexual, as the media has with Harris nearly three months later. It’s unfortunate that such a negative event was the catalyst that forced the revelation of intimate details about Harris’ personal life, when he clearly intended to keep it personal. Equality is a fundamental right for all human beings, but it should be on one’s own terms. In the process of the media trying to make a story out of the fact that an NFL player is gay by spotlighting them and focusing interviews on that topic, they risk ostracizing that individual even more..." - Alison Bullock, NESN, 30 March 2013 (READ MORE)

Kwame Harris (born March 15, 1982 in Jamaica) is a retired American football offensive tackle who played six seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football for the Stanford Cardinal, when he won the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10 Conference in 2002. Harris played high school football in Delaware, and was among the top prep offensive lineman in the country. He played three years at Stanford, twice earning all-conference honors and earning named honorable mention All-American in his final season. Harris was among the top-rated offensive linemen available in the 2003 draft, and he played five seasons with the 49ers and one with Oakland Raiders. He was a starter for most of his career, but often struggled with blocking and committing penalties...After the incident became public, Cintean stated that Harris identifies as gay, remarking that "he is a very private person. He doesn't like to talk about his personal life." On March 29, 2013, Harris officially outed himself as a homosexual during an interview with CNN. No NFL player had come out as gay while they were playing, and only a few had after retiring. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Monday, April 22, 2013

civil rights need to be for all

Civil Rights - "...The God that I believe in is a god of love, not fear," Osmond, who is a practicing Mormon, told Diane Sawyer. As for same-sex marriage, Osmond noted, "I believe in [my daughter's] civil rights, as a mother. I think that my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life. She's a good girl. She's a wonderful child." She then added, "I don't think God made one color flower. I think He made many." Osmond, 53, has spoken out in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in previous years, usually citing Jessica's role in that mindset. "I think everybody should have the right to share homes and finances with somebody that they care about," she told KOST 103.5 Los Angeles in 2009. "You know on those types of things I'm very supportive. When it comes to marriage...I think that civil rights need to be for all." Meanwhile, Osmond's brother Alan reportedly hosted a "pro-family" rally at the Utah State Capitol earlier this week, aimed at "benefitting the protection of marriage" from gay and lesbian Americans, according to Towleroad..." - Huffington Post (READ MORE)

Son Michael - "...I thought someone had run a knife into my heart,' writes the singer. Michael was an adventuresome child,' she recalls fondly. 'It was impossible for anyone in the family to stay upset or angry if he was around.' When Michael was 13, a woman rang the family's doorbell and revealed herself as his birth mother. 'We all sat and talked for over an hour,' says Maria. 'Michael was intrigued and excited.' But his biological mother disappeared after that, which Marie says 'seemed to confuse him at an age when he needed the most stability.' The star is also candid about her son's prolonged battle with drug addiction, which started at the age of 12. Marie blames herself and her own depression in her second marriage for his struggles, claiming that 'Michael sensed my hopelessness. It's too much pressure for a child to worry about his mother's happiness.' Things looked up in 2009 when Michael enrolled at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. 'Michael had made a promise that if I even suspected him of doing drugs I could kick him out the house,' she recalls. 'It was something we never had to contemplate because my son made good on his promise...thousands of times' in her mind. 'My one consolation is that I never end a conversation with my children without saying "I love you,"' she says. 'It was the last thing I said to my son.' Since his passing, Marie says 'not a day goes by that Michael isn't my first thought in the morning and my last before I fall asleep..." - Daily Mail, 27 March 2013 (READ MORE)

Suicidal Impulses - "...The day before his death, Michael spoke with his mom about how he was feeling lonely and isolated. "It was the first time I heard him start to cry and say he was alone," Marie says. "That he had no friends. That he felt despair." Watch Marie talk about her last phone conversation with her son. Concerned, Marie tried to help Michael from afar. "I told him: "Mike, I'm going to be there Monday, and it's going to be okay,'" she says. "But depression doesn't wait till Monday." In his suicide note, Marie says Michael wrote that he knew that morning would be the last time he would get up, brush his teeth, eat breakfast, make his bed and get dressed. "He had made that decision, I guess," Marie says. "He loved his family, but...the pain was too intense....When I had postpartum [depression], I remember vividly driving that car and people would be better off without me," Marie says. "I really believed that." But something stopped Marie from acting on any suicidal impulses. "It was my age that told me: 'Marie, that's crazy,'" she says. "Children don't have that kind of age behind them...When they're 18, everything [seems] hopeless...During that time, I was going through a very public divorce. Going through a custody battle. My dad died, and my son went into rehab," Marie says. In rehab, Michael tried to take his own life. "But at that time," Oprah says, "didn't he promise that he would never [attempt suicide] again?" "He did," Marie says. "And I believed him..." - (READ MORE)

Olive Marie Osmond (born October 13, 1959) is an American singer, actress, doll designer, and a member of the show business family The Osmonds. Although she was never part of her family's singing group, she gained success as a solo country music artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Her best known song is a cover of the country pop ballad "Paper Roses." From 1976 to 1979, she and her singer brother Donny Osmond hosted the TV variety show Donny & Marie...Olive Marie Osmond was born in Ogden, Utah to Olive and George Osmond, and was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the only daughter of nine children; her brothers are Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny and Jimmy Osmond. From an early age, her brothers maintained a career in show business, singing and performing on national television. Osmond debuted as part of her brothers' act The Osmond Brothers on the The Andy Williams Show when she was three, but generally did not perform with her brothers in the group's television performances through the 1960s...On April 29, 2009, Osmond revealed that her oldest daughter, Jessica, is a lesbian and had been living in Los Angeles with her girlfriend for the past three years. In interviews Osmond has expressed support for her daughter and for same sex marriage rights. On February 26, 2010, Osmond's son Michael committed suicide by jumping from the eighth floor of his apartment building in Los Angeles. He reportedly battled depression for most of his life and had been in rehabilitation at the age of 12. The autopsy released on April 21, 2010 revealed that no drugs were found in his system. Marie Osmond is a Republican. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Brodie’s Legacy

Great Courage - "...We want to get it out there that bullying is not OK, it’s not on. If you step over the line and start to disturb someone mentally or physically, then you will have to take responsibility for what you do,” Mr Panlock said. Brodie's Law ambassador and anti-bullying coach Sue Anderson said people being bullied need to know that it’s okay to ask for help. “Speak up about what you are experiencing and seek help – you do not have to deal with this on your own,” Ms Anderson said. “It takes great courage to decide to interrupt and no longer participate in an ongoing bullying situation. You do not deserve to be bullied – you didn't ask for it, and you don't have to accept it.” "We all have the power to take a stand against bullying by listening to and supporting the target of the bullying, speaking up and spreading the word that bullying is never acceptable and is not welcome in our community,” Ms Anderson said..." - PRWEB, Victoria, Australia March 15, 2013 (READ MORE)

Serious Crime - "...Our family has been fighting to (have workplace bullying the subject of criminal charges for a year plus," he said. "We haven’t been sitting on our hands." "When you assault someone, that’s a criminal charge, isn’t it? Brodie was assaulted, physically, and there are witnesses. "Nothing’s ever too late ... If this can save someone else’s family ... in the future, if the law is good enough for that, fine. But if it’s not, it doesn’t mean a thing does it?" Victoria Police have not charged the men responsible for bullying Brodie. Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said today that "serious bullying was a serious crime" and should carry a significant jail term. "These changes will put beyond doubt that the terrible suffering inflicted on Brodie Panlock will constitute the offence of stalking and carry a jail term of up to 10 years," he told 3AW. Mr Clark said Victorian families were "entitled to be confident" that young workers were protected from victimisation at work. "These changes should give parents confidence that their children can start out in the workforce without being victim to this terrible bullying..." - Thomas Hunter, The Age, April 5, 2011 (READ MORE)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Definition of Bullying

Power Imbalance - "...the word is being overused", she says, "expanding, accordionlike, to encompass both appalling violence or harassment and a few mean words." In order to tackle bullying properly it needs a tighter definition, says Bazelon - something like "abuse carried out over a prolonged period of time, involving a power imbalance". This may not fit in either case of Bailey O'Neill or Amanda Todd. There was no history of intimidation that led to the punch thrown at O'Neill, a district attorney said. While for Todd, the fact that she reported conflicts with classmates led many to ascribe her death to bullying when "her account of online seduction, stalking and blackmail cries out for...police investigation..." - The Independent, March 12, 2013 (READ MORE)

Traditional Definition - "...Bullying has traditionally been defined by three elements: aggression (the intent to harm), a power differential, and repetition. The predominant term used in research within the United States has been “peer victimization”, which focuses somewhat more on the experience of children who are victimized and less on the intent of those who perpetrate the bullying..." - Prevnet (READ MORE)

The Victim or The "Target" - "...Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target". Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK currently has no legal definition of bullying, while some U.S. states have laws against it. Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more "lieutenants" who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse. Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism. A bullying culture can develop in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods...." - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

All Forms of Harassment - "...Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies. Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders. Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace...." - NSW Public School (READ MORE)

Workplace Bullying - "...Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress...Bullying is a compulsive need to displace aggression and is achieved by the expression of inadequacy (social, personal, interpersonal, behavioural, professional) by projection of that inadequacy onto others through control and subjugation (criticism, exclusion, isolation etc). Bullying is sustained by abdication of responsibility (denial, counter-accusation, pretence of victimhood) and perpetuated by a climate of fear, ignorance, indifference, silence, denial, disbelief, deception, evasion of accountability, tolerance and reward (eg promotion) for the bully..." - Bullying Online (READ MORE)

Problem Behaviours - "...Common, clearly understood definitions of bullying, sexual harassment and racial discrimination are the cornerstone of any successful program. Definitions and consequences of engaging in these problem behaviours should be posted in common areas and classrooms and reviewed regularly. Students must be engaged in this process. The definitions found below have been tested out on large student populations in many countries. With the exception of the sexual harassment definition, they should be used for grades four and up. Due to developmental reasons, the definition of sexual harassment should only be used for those in grades eight and higher. The definitions found below are based upon the West Vancouver School District Safe School Surveys and the World Health Organization’s definitions of bullying in the international Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children surveys. To harass someone is to bother, make fun of, trouble or attack them, and this is done repeatedly. Someone who harasses wants to hurt the other person (it's not an accident), and does or says the same things over and over again...." - CPHA (READ MORE)

Psychologists' Definition - "...All the misdiagnosis of bullying is making the real but limited problem seem impossible to solve. If every act of aggression counts as bullying, how can we stop it? Down this road lies the old assumption that bullying is a rite of childhood passage. But that’s wrong. Bullying is a particular form of harmful aggression, linked to real psychological damage, both short and long term. There are concrete strategies that can succeed in addressing it - and they all begin with shifting the social norm so that bullying moves from being shrugged off to being treated as unacceptable. But we can’t do that if we believe, and tell our children, that it’s everywhere. The definition of bullying adopted by psychologists is physical or verbal abuse, repeated over time, and involving a power imbalance. In other words, it’s about one person with more social status lording it over another person, over and over again, to make him miserable. ..." - Emily Bazelon, New York Times, March 11, 2013 (READ MORE)

Monday, April 1, 2013

self-confidence and self-esteem

Calgary Herald: - "...Beck will be sharing screen time with actors Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche when the indie drama Words and Pictures begins shooting in Vancouver later this month. It’s an opportunity that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible. “I was afraid of rejection, unable to speak out in large groups of people or in classes,” said the teen, as she explains the cognitive dissonance of going from being “bullied” to winning a screen role. Beck says acting helped her break out of social isolation after years of bullying, and her own experience growing up in a disadvantaged home was very different than what she will be portraying on film...She said her hope in sharing her story is that her journey from being a bullied kid who felt like an outcast, to sharing screen time with some of the world’s best known actors, will inspire other kids to believe in their own dreams. “My parents came here from England and were so broke when I was born my baby stroller and mattress came from the dump,” she said in a phone interview. Her parents started out on welfare, but eventually got work. The family settled in Port Coquitlam, but life was anything but smooth. Beck was hit by a car at age seven, and was hospitalized with a head injury. Her father abandoned the family when she was nine, and event that “destroyed my self-confidence and self-esteem and I became withdrawn and quiet.” Beck’s vulnerabilities, including needing special assistance in school as she recovered after her car accident, made her a target for bullies beginning in grades 4 and 5, she said. “People I thought were friends became abusive, they made threats, stabbed me with pencils, made hurtful remarks. I was the only African-American in the school and they would feel my hair and ask questions about it...When Beck returned to live with her Mom in Grade 11, she decided to try acting. She found her calling after years of confidence and self-esteem issues...After a year of acting classes and “persistence,” Beck started getting gigs. “When that started happening my grades went up in school, my friendships were healthier...Beck is hoping to get a message out to other kids that might be struggling with self-esteem issues or bullying in schools. “School doesn’t last forever...Acting wasn’t given to me, I worked hard for it and it grew my self-esteem..." - Denise Ryan, March 11, 2013 (READ MORE)

Bernadette Beck (Born in Islington, London, England, UK on May 23, 1994), now living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Beck is currently managed by Kalee Harris at Play Management Inc. Her facebook page listed outdoor activities and public speaking as her personal interest. She currently filming "Words and Pictures" slated for 2014 release and featured in "Girl in Progress" (2012) and on television series "Level Up" (2011-12).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Manitoba's Bill 18

Societal Control - "...Rev. Dr. James Christie directs the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy at the U of W. He said opposition to the legislation is not about religious freedom. “It’s essentially about control - societal control and that is clearly not a gospel value, and it is not something the Christian leadership quite frankly ought to ever promote,” said Christie. Christie said faith should not be so fragile that it could be shaken by teens who want to form a club at school..." - CBC News, Mar 11, 2013 (READ MORE)

Religious Freedom - "...The other problem with this bill is that it threatens religious freedom. Specifically, Bill 18 requires all schools, including independent faith-based schools, to facilitate student groups that may undermine the schools' religious values. In its enthusiasm to stamp out bullying, the Manitoba government appears prepared to run roughshod over the right of private religious schools to uphold their faith. If this sounds eerily familiar, look at what happened last year in Ontario. The McGuinty government's Bill 13, Accepting Schools Act, contained a similar provision mandating specific student groups in schools. Despite strong opposition from Catholic school boards, the government passed the legislation, ignoring their concerns. Obviously, some people will say that since some faith-based schools receive government funding, they should accept Bill 18 without question. However, the acceptance of funding should not eliminate the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. Many parents, in fact, choose faith-based schools specifically because of the school's values. Until now, the Manitoba government has been careful to respect the religious freedoms of faith-based schools. But, public opposition to Bill 18 continues to grow. A website has recently been set up by opponents of Bill 18 (, which has resulted in hundreds of emails being sent to provincial politicians...." - Rodney A. Clifton and John C. Long, Winnipeg Free Press, Feb 20 2013 (READ MORE)

Protection from Bullying - "...We know clearly that young people need to be protected in this particular area. We know clearly that young people who are gay have higher rates of depression and mental health issues, they talk about suicide, they are harassed and bullied,” she said. Ms. Allan said a gay-straight alliance is simply a venue in which students can share their feelings and get support. “You’re just providing a space for young people to talk.” But Mr. Altein said a gay-straight alliance would be the same as a group demanding non-kosher food in school. “It would be wrong for a student of an Orthodox Jewish school to demand the right to eat a lunch of non-kosher food such as pork. It would be even more disrespectful for students to form an official group within the Jewish religious school to advocate for the ‘right’ to eat pork..." - Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press, Mar. 15 2013 (READ MORE)

Monday, March 18, 2013

BOOK: Th1rteen R3asons Why

Similar Issues of Bullying - "...I don't know anything about bullying in Huntington Beach specifically, but I would assume it's very similar to other places. As the author of a book like this, I travel around the country speaking. ... One of the things I found is that no matter where in the country, poor communities, rich communities, everybody deals with very similar issues of bullying. It's pretty widespread...There's a lot she could have done differently. I didn't want it to be a heavy-handed, preachy book where I tell people, "This is how you should feel about these issues." It was very important to me, as I was writing it, to not let Hannah off the hook and to show the ways she could have done more to help herself, places she could have turned and things she was doing to make things even worse for herself in some cases. I thought it would have been irresponsible to write a book where she did everything she could have done. I hear from readers all the time saying that the book convinced them to reach out and get help..." - Asher Klein, Orange County Register, March 13, 2013 (READ MORE)

Disembodied Voice - "...“Thirteen Reasons Why” was partly inspired by a relative of Mr. Asher’s who had tried to commit suicide. The idea of using tape recordings, he said, came from a visit to a casino in Las Vegas, where Mr. Asher used a recorded audio guide on a tour of an exhibition about King Tutankhamen of Egypt. Something about listening to a disembodied voice made Mr. Asher, now 33, think, “This would be a really cool format for a book that I had never seen.” At the time Mr. Asher, who had dropped out of college to pursue a writing career, was trying to sell comedic picture and chapter books for younger children. Before he sold “Thirteen Reasons” to Razorbill, he said, he submitted a total of 11 manuscripts to publishers. All were rejected. He was working as an assistant children’s librarian and as a bookseller at a local store in Sheridan, Wyo., six years ago when he started reading a lot of young adult fiction. One day, he said, the idea for “Thirteen Reasons” just hit him, and he wrote what eventually became the first 10 pages that night. The eerie, sardonic voice of Hannah, the suicide victim, came easily. The character of Clay Jensen, the boy whose reactions to the tapes provide another thread through the novel, was based on Mr. Asher’s own high school memories...Mr. Asher was planning to write a lighthearted high school romance as his follow-up to “Thirteen Reasons,” but the intense feedback from readers, he said, caused him to abandon that manuscript halfway through. “I didn’t want them to be let down by my next book,” he said. Now he is working on a novel that “will go into the complications of high school relationships..." - Motoko Rich, The New York Times, March 9, 2009 (READ MORE)

Great Idea - "...My real problem with this book was Clay. On the tape that Hannah has dedicated to him she explicitly says, 'You don't deserve to be on these tapes.' Clay is a nerd. He studies on weekends and doesn't go to parties he's excited about being valedictorian. He's had a crush on Hannah and never the balls to tell her so. Not only is he boring and one-dimensional but I never saw a single reason as to why he would be interested in a girl like Hannah considering the people she associated with; friends or not. Of all the people on the tapes, Clay is without doubt the weakest choice for the story's living narrator. He's likable and he's nice. He's also kinda boring. While many of the other people on the tapes were manipulative bitches or outright sexually aggressive creeps and while readers might not have liked those choices as I'm sure most did Clay, seeing things and hearing Hannah's voice play through anyone else mentioned on the tapes' head may have made for a much more compelling (perhaps even more disturbing) read. Thirteen Reasons Why is a great idea, a really unique presentation and story mechanic; added to which everything works. But considering the lowest points that led up to Hannah taking her life and how universally awful they were I can think of at least "Nine Reasons" she never would have dwelt on long enough to record on tape in the first place. A fine writer and certainly one to watch. All in all a good book and one that even manages to feel original..." - Chad Hull, blogger, Fictio is so Overrated, Feb 9 2013 (READ MORE)

Multiple-person Narrative - "...Thirteen Reasons Why is written for readers to experience Hannah's story through a teen named Clay who is discovering Hannah's thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. Hannah decides to share her story through audiotapes with the people that she feels need to know the negative impact they had on her life while she was still alive. Through Hanna's audiotapes Clay learns much more about Hannah he had ever known while she was alive. Though he wishes he could go back in time to help her through all of this, all he can do now is send the tapes to the next person on the list. One of the most important reasons a teacher should consider this book over others that cover similar topics, is its multiple-person narrative. One of the narrators is Hanna, through her cassette tapes, and Clay, through his inner dialogue. Because of this all students have a character they can understand the story through, and connect with. The book also features topics that are hugely important to teens: bullying, depression, date rape, isolation, and suicide. Between the unique format, intriguing issues, multiple antagonists, dual narrators, and the idea that everything affects everything this book is sure to hook high school students..." - Young Adult Literature (READ MORE)

Thirteen Reasons Why (stylized as TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY) is a 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel written by Jay Asher. The book was published by RazorBill, a young adult imprint of Penguin Books. The paperback edition hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in July 2011. In May 2011, a website called launched where fans of the book can record their reviews and experiences as text, photo or video. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Jay Asher is an American writer of contemporary novels for teens. He has one major publication in the genre of young adult literature...Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended College right after graduating from San Luis Obispo High School. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. After high school, he decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. He is married. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing. He has published two books to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, a 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel, and The Future of Us, co written by Carolyn Mackler. He has written several picture books and middle school humor novels. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high praise from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Sherman Alexie, and Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Korman. Asher is a fan of the TV series My So-Called Life. He cites it as a major influence on his work. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Friday, February 15, 2013

don’t ever give up on ’em

CBC: - “...It hurts,” he told the crowd gathered at Fraserview Hall. “It don't make no difference how old or what grade you in when people laugh at you.” Holyfield, speaking at a fundraiser for the Amanda Todd Legacy Fund, says he was laughed at as a child because he couldn't read. “They started laughing at me in kindergarten,” he said. “It is amazing in kindergarten when they say you don't know your alphabet and you sitting then there seeing people the same age and everybody laugh and the teacher don't stop them.” Amanda Todd's mother Carol said Holyfield’s involvement is a huge help to the cause. “It was like, ‘Wow. This is big news having someone like him wanting to be attached to the [Amanda Todd] Legacy Fund,’” she said..." - CBC News, Evander Holyfield fights bullying at Amanda Todd fundraiser, Jan 29 2013 (READ MORE)

Vancouver Sun: - "...Like many of his generation, Holyfield lamented the fact that today’s kids “are putting things on (Facebook and other online forums) and doing it to themselves, putting your whole business on a website. “Who in the world wants to put your business on the website when it’s going to be on there forever? Somebody can be reminding you of everything you do wrong. People don’t understand what they doing to themselves by all this publicity.” Holyfield has 11 kids of his own by six different women. Several of them, he put into private school, he says, to make sure they got every opportunity to succeed. Some of them jumped off the right path, he admits, “but they got back on. I don’t ever give up on ’em..." - Gary Kingston, Evander Holyfield hopes to help knock out bullying, Vancouver Sun, Jan 26 2013 (READ MORE)

The Province: - "...Well the Amanda Todd organization I will be going down and speaking on their behalf. I’ve realized the discipline you have as a fighter, you go in the ring, and everything ain’t always well, some days you don’t feel good. You have to show up, you have to stand up. It’s pretty much your confidence that allows you show up all the time, speak up when things are not right, you open your mouth and speak. I think the same thing goes for the bullying program. I spoke with a lot of people about it. I said, everybody is vulnerable, a lot of times with bullying, a lot of people look at it a little different. My mother taught me at a young age don’t be afraid, you cannot worry about what people say about you, do what you have to do. We have to talk to parents; it’s our responsibility to equip our children for what life is really about. When I was a kid and they talked about bullying I thought, wow, I thought bullying was when you were picking on someone and that person gets scared, that’s a part of bullying. I didn’t know the bullying they were talking about mean people saying things. In the neighborhood that I lived in, it’ one of those things where people call you nicknames, people came up and called you names. If you didn’t have thick skin, you would have a tough time. Parents need to prepare their kids. We as parents have to say, we live in a society where people feel that the freedom of speech is to embarrass you. I saw the other day, I was surprised, but President Clinton said he was bullied. I thought, people jumped on him? No, he was fat. He spoke about it. The thing with Tyson I realized, you can talk about it all you want, but you have to stand up, and that comes from your parents. Nobody chooses their parents, but learning this comes from your parents. It’s the parents’ job to make that effort..." - Lev Jackson, A conversation with Evander Holyfield, The Province, Jan 27 2013 (READ MORE)

Arbitrage: - "...Amanda Todd, a grade ten student from British Columbia, broke the hearts of Canadians when she committed suicide on October 10, 2012. Like many teenagers, she made a mistake due to a lapse in judgement and paid for her mistake as the result of bullying..." - Chantelle (Tilly) Wark, Bullying - The Amanda Todd Case, Arbitrage, Dec 24 2012 (READ MORE)

Evander Holyfield (born October 19, 1962) is an American professional boxer. He is a former Undisputed World Champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, earning him the nickname "The Real Deal." After winning the bronze medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics, he debuted as a professional at the age of 21. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lance Armstrong: “Yeah, I was a bully...”

The Globe and Mail: - “...Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah is likely to be the start of the long and difficult process of repairing his brand as well as limiting any damage to the Livestrong brand and organization,” said Manish Kacker, associate professor of marketing at McMaster University. Complicating his attempt to rebuild his reputation is the mountain of lies he built to sustain the myth that he was clean. In 2007, in a conversation with Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Ideas Festival, he said there was “no way” he would take drugs after beating cancer. “I came out of a life-threatening disease, I was on my death-bed,” he said “Do you think I’m going to come back into a sport and say ‘okay, okay doctor, give me everything you got, I just want to go fast.’ No way. Would never do that.” Not only did he repeatedly deny doping throughout his career, he attacked critics as jealous liars. He undermined the careers of competitors who tried to blow the whistle “Yeah, I was a bully,” he acknowledged to Ms. Winfrey. He admitted being embarrassed now as she showed him video of several particularly cynical statements from his riding days. “[I had] this just ruthless desire to win, win it all ... and that defiance, that attitude, that arrogance, you cannot deny it. I mean, you watch that clip, that’s an arrogant person. I look at that and [I say] look at this arrogant prick. I say that today. It’s not good...” - Oliver Moore, The Globe and Mail, Lance Armstrong's way: Doping, lying, bullyingJan 17 2013 (READ MORE)

Slate: - "...For children in school, the standard definition of a bully is someone who verbally or physically abuses a target over whom he or she has more power, repeatedly and over time. Import that to Lance Land, and, yes, you’ve got a bully. But in his interview, Lance wanted to own the word without any of the consequences. "Yes, I was a bully. I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative and if I didn't like what someone said I turned on them," he told Oprah. But when she asked if he threatened to kick cyclist Christian Vande Velde off the team when he wouldn’t get with the doping program, Armstrong denied it. Similarly, he admitted he was the kind of person who always goes on the attack. But then he said he’d only become a bully after going back to his cycling career, post-cancer. Hard to imagine that he has grappled much with this side of his character, much less come to regret it, if he can’t get his timeline straight..." - Emily Bazelon, Slate, Jan 18 2013, Lance Armstrong Was a Bully-and That Hardly Covers It (READ MORE)

New Republic: - "...The catalogue of bad behavior got worse. He admitted that there was an “expectation” that his younger teammates would also use dangerous performance-enhancing drugs, if they wanted to make the A team. He acknowledged calling a team employee, Emma O’Reilly, a drunk and a whore. (Oprah did not approve.) He admitted calling Betsy Andreu, wife of a former teammate and close friend, a “crazy bitch”—but then insisted, “I never called her fat,” as if that made it okay. (It didn’t, and Oprah really did not approve of the fat talk. ) He laid out a catalogue of sociopathic behavior—and then failed to apologize for much if any of it. There was no apology to Betsy or her husband, Frankie, whose lives and careers he made much more difficult. There was no apology to Greg Lemond, a colleague and superior sportsman who he persecuted for years. There was no apology to his former teammates, or to the many people he’d sued or threatened to sue. “You're suing people, and you know that they're telling the truth,” Oprah huffed. “What is that?” “I think all of this is a process for me,” he said, in the course of not really answering her. “One of the steps of that process is to speak to those people directly, and just say to them that I am sorry, and I was wrong. You were right..." - Bill Gifford, Lance Armstrong: No More Mr. Nice Guy, New Republic, Jan 18 2013 (READ MORE)

Lance Edward Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson; September 18, 1971) is an American former professional road racing cyclist. Armstrong had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005, before being disqualified from each of those races and banned from cycling for life for doping offenses by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012. He is the founder of the Livestrong Foundation, originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which provides support for cancer patients...In October 1996, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy. In February 1997, he was declared cancer-free and the same year he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation...On October 22, 2012, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport's governing body, announced its decision to accept USADA's findings. Armstrong chose not to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and in January 2013 Armstrong admitted doping in a television interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey, despite having made denials throughout his career. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).